The sometimes uncomfortable Way

After these events, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great. Genesis 15:1 (HCSB)

The LORD answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late. Habakkuk 2:2-3 (HCSB)

Visions. Dreams. Revelation from the Lord. What is the most comfortable way to receive a message , a truth from the Lord? I don’t know if ‘comfortable’ is the right word but I ask myself that question and I don’t know if I know the answer.

In some ways, hearing a ‘revealing word’ from an authoritative speaker from the pulpit is good. There’s a certain expectation of integrity and anointing from God. A speaker says that God spoke to him/her and I take that and line it up with the rest of his/her sermon or teaching and then weigh it with God’s Word as I know it from the Bible and I feel a certain level of confidence in that test.

But then there is the same type of speaker and instead of a generic statement that “God spoke to me” I am told that the person had a dream or a vision. Now that brings in an element of ‘fanciful’. What is real and what is imagined? Is that any different from listening to someone say they hear voices?

Maybe that is the reason behind many who say that “these kinds of things don’t happen any more”. Visions and dreams, prophetic words, miracle healings that defy medical science are ‘messy’ and ‘untidy’ in the Church. All the loose ends of the words or events do not neatly connect together. The Pharisees became angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath partly because they could not explain the manifestation of the miracle so they ‘got crazy’ about what they could point their fingers.

This disciple is the one who told all of this. He wrote it, and we know he is telling the truth. Jesus did many other things. If they were all written in books, I don’t suppose there would be room enough in the whole world for all the books. John 21:24-25 (CEV)

John would probably still be isolated on an island if he were a member of our church today. His preaching on Jesus’ life and recounting of his visions would have many church leaders making sure that he did not get an opportunity to speak or teach again. He would be seen as a ‘loose cannon’. Fortunately, it is not their opinion of John’s spiritual life that counts.

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.                     3 John 11 (HCSB)

Whether teachings, Word from God, sermons, visions, or dreams, all can and should be checked for the fruit that they produce; fruit like Jesus produced. They should always point to and glorify God. It is always about building up the Body of Christ and His Kingdom.

 

 

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